Everything I need to know about diplomacy I learned from Jim Malone

Katy says: Given the recent spats between Colombia and Venezuela, one of the things that jumps out is the difference in style and tone between the two governments.

While the Colombian government tries to be polite yet firm in asking Venezuela not to meddle in its affairs, the Venezuelan government responds with an outrageous communiqué that ups the ante and basically accuses Uribe of being a warmonger who is not interested in the peace and the lives of his own countrymen.

It seems like any time the Uribe government responds to Chávez, he comes back with something three times worse. It’s a weird little dance these two have, with one side foaming at the mouth and yearning for a fight and the other side trying to practice restraint and striving for the high road.

I keep thinking of how useless the Colombian government’s tone and strategy are. No press release, no diplomatic note of protest will tone Chávez down.

I keep thinking of Jim Malone, the Sean Connery character in The Untouchables. You probably remember the line:

“Here’s how you get Capone: he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now, do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?”

Well, Uribe, are you? Are you ready to raise the rhetoric? Are you ready to out-cuss and out-hood Chávez/Capone? ‘Cause erudite notes of protest may go down well in Bogotá’s diplomatic circles, but the laughter they provoke over at the Casa Amarilla can be heard miles away.

The only way to fight a street rat is to roll up your sleeves and get down in the gutter.